1. Kyle Crick
Height/Weight: 6’4” 220 lbs
Drafted/Acquired: 1st round, 2011 draft, Sherman HS (Sherman, TX)
Previous Ranking: #1 (Org), #65 (Top 101)
2013 Stats: 1.57 ERA (68.2 IP, 48 H, 98 K, 39 BB) at High-A San Jose
The Tools: 7+ fastball; 6+ potential CH; 6 potential CB; 6+ potential SL
What Happened in 2013: An oblique injury three starts into his season slowed his initial California League destruction, but it didn’t take long after his return for him to emerge as one of the best young arms in the minors, a trend he carried over to the Arizona Fall League.
Strengths: Excellent size and present strength; arm is incredibly fast; fastball is easy plus-plus offering; pitch works in the 93-97 range; touches higher; big late life; changeup started out as a weakness but emerged as his best secondary offering; excellent arm speed and late action to the arm side; difference-maker pitch with more consistency; shows both curveball and hard slider; curveball with two-plane movement and some depth; plus is possible; slider is hard with sharp cutter-like slice to the glove side; mid-80s to low 90s; aggressive approach.
Weaknesses: Delivery can be problematic; can struggle with balance and rhythm (arm can be late); overall command is below average; secondary inconsistency; fastball-heavy attack; can overthrow the slider and lose depth.
Overall Future Potential: 7; no. 2 starter
Realistic Role: 6; late-innings reliever (closer)
Risk Factor/Injury History: Moderate risk; yet to pitch at Double-A level
Bret Sayre’s Fantasy Take: The positive takeaway for fantasy is that Crick will miss bats regardless of his role. As a starting pitcher, Crick could be a big contributor in ERA and strikeouts, but his WHIP is likely to hold him back (unless he takes a big step forward in control) and his high pitch counts may inhibit his potential for wins. If he’s a reliever, he can be an 80-90 strikeout closer—which installs a relatively high realistic floor into his fantasy value.
The Year Ahead: Crick is a monster, regardless of his ultimate role. Given his age and developmental progress of the changeup, you can see a frontline starter in the making, with size, strength, a deep plus potential secondary arsenal, and a near-elite fastball. The inconsistencies in the delivery and command woes could limit his upside in a rotation, which several sources cite when a bullpen projection is suggested. If he can iron out the delivery in the next few seasons and throw more strikes, Crick has the type of lively stuff that can survive in the zone, and if one of the breaking balls steps forward into a true plus pitch, the big Texan shouldn’t have any trouble missing bats and barrels alike. I think Crick can stick around in a rotation for the foreseeable future, and any command refinement could launch him into the top 10 prospects in the game.
Major league ETA: 2015